The Summer of Pancakes, Moana, and Naps

The Mowdy family had a slow, sweet summer of 2017. Slow and sweet like maple syrup being poured onto pancakes. 2017 is the summer where Dillon and I both got to stay home. It’s the summer we sleep trained our 9 month old. It’s the summer we memorized the song lyrics to Moana. It’s the summer we started to figure out a balance to being parents, being married, and being ourselves again.

Pancakes

My husband is the main chef in the family. We used to tag-team it really well in the kitchen. He handled the protein and I handled the sides. Then I got pregnant with Declan and couldn’t handle any smells, so Dillon stepped up and took on more tasks in the kitchen. After having Declan, I was usually stuck to the couch breastfeeding, so Dillon continued in his role as the family’s main chef. I had started to migrate my way back into the kitchen more when I got pregnant with Baby #2 but the first trimester nausea and strong sense of smell had me stepping right back out of the kitchen.

One day I know I will be more active again in the kitchen. I still am in there a lot (#dishes…) and make most of my meals, but Dillon has spoiled me this summer with pancake breakfasts. Some bacon, some potatoes and bell peppers, fried eggs, a side of fresh fruit, and a big stack of gluten-free pancakes with butter and maple syrup.

I’m now really hungry and wanting breakfast food.

Moana

We first saw Moana as a family during a vacation to the beach. A beach college town near the coast of California still has a wonderful drive-in movie theater. Declan was about 3 months old, so our family outings were limited but we knew we could handle a drive-in movie with a baby who still mostly slept all day. We stopped and got a gluten-free pizza on the way from a popular pizza place in town that thankfully does large gluten-free pizzas. Most places just do individual size for gluten-free.

The movie night was not as magical as I would have thought. Declan spit up badly for the first time and the whole truck smelled like baby vomit. The pizza had gotten a little cold by the time I was done changing Delcan, breastfeeding Declan, and trying to bounce him in the front seat to go to sleep. I was nervous the other cars were wondering who brought that fussy baby, but Dillon assured me they wouldn’t be able to hear him. Pretty soon after having mommy bounce him and pat his back Declan fell into a deep sleep right on my chest. He normally napped on me, but without the drama first. I remember feeling like a mom because I got my crying baby to fall asleep.

The movie Moana playing in the background during the baby spit-up and the baby crying and the diaper changing was so calming. Probably all the blue on the screen during most scenes.

I ended up falling asleep before the movie ended. Moana and Maui were headed to the island when I feel asleep and when I woke up the credits were rolling. Dillon knows to not wake a sleeping mommy. It was some of the best sleep I got the first few months after Declan was born. Belly full of pizza, pretty songs playing in the background, and my baby in a hard earned deep sleep on my chest.

About two months ago Netflix added Moana! I was thrilled and finally got to finish the movie. Declan is also strangely mesmerized by Moana. He ignores other TV shows or movies when the TV is on, but as soon as we play Moana, this happens…

During rough mornings where Declan wakes up at 4 AM or when one of us needs an easier time watching the baby, Moana goes on in the background and the whole room (Declan) gets calm. Thanks, Disney! It’s his favorite movie. I didn’t really want my baby to have a favorite movie, but sometimes parents need some help.

Naps

This summer is the one where Daddy and Mommy took back our nights! We were so naive about baby sleeping schedules, but after a lot of internet research and helpful baby sleep websites, we got Declan on a really great sleep schedule around 9 months old and now he sleeps from around 6 Pm to 5 AM, give or take 30 minutes either way. He also takes one two hour nap around 8 AM and a second hour long nap around 1 PM. Some days the naps vary and go longer or shorter and some days the second nap is boycotted. But overall, most days and nights are now predictable. No more keeping the baby up until 9 PM because he just doesn’t seem tired. Some nights Dillon and I have to just laugh at how lost we were in parenthood by allowing Declan to dictate his bedtime. We now know all the signs of an overtired baby. Ours gets super super super playful.

Our summer revolved around Delcan’s nap times and bedtime routine. Occasionally Declan’s naps were used as times to get quieter chores done. Mostly Declan’s nap times were used for mommy and daddy to relax. To spend time together. To take naps together. To enjoy each other again before this next baby comes and we will be faced with many new challenges, sleep deprivation being one of them.

When I was pregnant with Declan, I remember getting really annoyed that people would say things like say goodbye to sleep! But man, it is so true. Unless the parents hit the jackpot with a sleeping baby (which I’ve met a few) babies mean less sleep. Especially the first few months when babies are eating throughout the night.

Our summer naps were exactly what Dillon and I needed to prepare for this upcoming baby.

I have a feeling that pancakes, Moana, and naps will always take me back to the slow, sweet summer of 2017.

 

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Orange Room Progress – Goodbye Stuff

Two weeks ago I decided to finally tackle my craft room after hearing at church how God won’t give responsibility to irresponsible people.

Super irresponsible to have a mess this big.

After working on it for two weeks I can finally start to see the original vision I had for this space.

One major part of getting the room organized was getting rid of stuff. Again. I have gotten rid of stuff so many times. Dillon has helped me take so many full trash bags to Goodwill. I’ve watched Clean House for inspiration. I’ve read and tried the KonMari method twice. I tried to join Elsa in letting it go. I’ve told myself, I’ve got God so I don’t need this junk anymore. I’ve given away an insane amount of quality books, dvds, TV on dvds, CDs, clothes, shoes, etc. So cleaning this room frustrated me so much because I didn’t know how I was still drowning in stuff

Being a teacher makes it harder to just trash things because maybe I could use that in the classroom. Maybe I could give that away as a prize. Maybe…maybe…maybe I’ll use it someday… 

That thought kept me holding on to a lot. Which is a heavy burden.

But this time, I have hope, will be the final time for major purging of stuff. 

Here are a few of the things I said goodbye to…

Leftover Fabric Scraps

I have toted bags full of fabric scraps around for years. I always thought to myself, I can make a ton of cute blankets and give them away to the pregnancy center downtown. One summer a few years back I did just that – I made a lot of blankets and donated them. The pregnancy center has a great program and I wanted to support the work they do. But that was when I had a lot of free time — I was a teacher on summer break. 

I just don’t have the time or energy in this season. And I don’t want to be tripping over that bag any longer.

Ribbon

I had to say goodbye to ribbon. For the second time…there used to be more…

Oh, my goodness. Why does anybody have this much ribbon? I bought it when I made and sold chocolate and it was used to decorate the chocolate boxes.  I way overbought ribbon because it’s so cute. Ugh. And I’ve held onto it because maybe I’ll use it for something. Thankfully, a friend who teaches the sixth grade took the ribbon off my hands. I know sixth graders can put it to good use. Or even if it’s not put to good use, at least it is out of my space and getting used! What is the point of a ton of unused crafting supplies?

Storage Containers

Previously all full.

When something is tucked away in a storage container, I forget about it. Storage containers are bulky and ugly but are sometimes helpful so I am keeping two of them. One is for Christmas stuff. I previously used two for Christmas but I am downsizing. Anything that doesn’t fit gets a sleigh ride to Goodwill. And I’m keeping a second storage container for all the clothes Declan is super quickly growing out of.

Christmas Wrapping Paper

Also my second time getting rid of Christmas paper. I know there are super savvy ways to store wrapping paper, but I don’t want to see it anymore. It takes up a lot of space and only gets used once a year. Plus, I was stashing enough Christmas wrapping paper to last until Declan moves out of the house! And that thought does not bring me joy. 

Random Items

So many random items. Here are some water bottle holders I made when I was in high school. Ten years ago. Never used. I also gave these to the sixth teacher to use as prizes. Why did I never use them as prizes in my own classroom? They were lost in a storage container. (And I’m still on maternity leave!)

Bulk Unused Fabric

A few years ago, my older sister and I went to JoAnns Fabrics on Black Friday. It was so so so fun. People were grabbing fabric and yelling, “I’ll take the whole bolt!” or “I’ll take 10 yards!” And the fabric was so cheap! I got in on the action big time. The fun memories will stay, but the fabric I never should have purchased will go.

Looking at these pictures makes me realize how silly it was to hold on to things for so long. I got way more happiness from not having them than I got while having them.

I am so happy with the progress I have made so far. The room is walkable! The floor is visible! I can breathe. I feel peace and excitement instead of frustration. I have learned my lesson and will no longer buy extra fabric just incase. I will no longer overbuy stuff because it is cute or on sale. I will carefully watch what stuff enters my house. Including gifts. Christmas comes with gifts and gifts are more stuff.  Some stuff will be kept, and some stuff will be enjoyed for a while and then donated to be enjoyed by others.

And…..now I get to move onto decorating my room and making it a workable space. Good thing I just finished reading Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Story! Although I’m not sure they’d think my orange walls are the way to go…

 

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What This Mrs. Misses About Teaching

I am on my sixth week of maternity leave. I do not have the itch to return to work. I thank God each morning that I’m able to stay home with my baby boy. That being said, my heart does miss a few things about teaching. And I’m going to write about them because my head is still dizzy with all things baby and my mind is aching to play with words.

What This Mrs. Misses About Teaching

1.  Scholastic Book Orders

Scholastic

I’ve said it before, but scholastic book orders are basically why I became a teacher. I get way more excited when The Book Box arrives than when a student “gets it”. The lightbulb moment is usually gradual and often happens when I’m distracted from actually teaching the lesson to the whole class.

The Book Box allows me to slow down and take in the scent of brand new, shiny, silky books. And the look of excitement my students get over BOOKS makes me so happy. When I carry the Book Box from the office to my classroom, I hope to run into some of my students just to give them a big open mouth smile of excitement because The Book Box came!!

2. Donors Choose

The first two years I taught, like most new teachers, I spent a good chunk of my paycheck on stuff for my classroom. Decorations for the walls, prizes for my student store, stickers for days and days, fun colored white board markers, food snacks for parties, books for my class library, and the list goes on and on. I put a big halt to buying stuff for my classroom once I noticed my savings account didn’t have any… savings.

But I still wanted my kids to have a nice classroom and get to experience new things, so I wrote out requests for items with Donors Choose,  a website that allows teachers to request certain items, write up a proposal, and then donors get to choose which projects they want to fund. With Donors Choose, I’ve been able to get LEGOs for center time, a huge cozy rug for reading time, a bunch of jump ropes and soccer gear to make PE more legit. It’s such a great program that really helps teachers bring in new supplies to the classroom without spending so much of their own money.

3. Playing Soccer With Students

Soccer

I’ve never been athletic. So my skill level at soccer is about the same as my 2nd grade students, excluding the ones who are in some type of soccer league outside of school. Those students are way better than me.

My students love it when I play soccer with them and so do I. When I put on a green or blue jersey that team gets super excited. It’s a bonding time where we can play together and build up that teacher-student relationship.

Playing soccer with my students is where a lot of the magic happens.

At times it’s incredibly tough to take on the role of coach because I have zero life experience to draw from so all the coaching knowledge I have comes from sports movies. But it’s magical all the same. At the end of a long day, it’s so refreshing to go outside and have fun. If I were in charge of the education system, there would be so much more PLAY time. For the KIDS. Go figure.

4. Chapter Book Read Alouds

Chapter book

Ok, this is where the other real magic happens. I once was told by a student’s older sister, “My brother hated reading before he came into your class. We were always trying to get him to read at home but he never would. After being in your class, he loves chapter books.”

That was so rewarding to hear because it’s not easy to read chapter books aloud each day to a room full of wiggly kids.

But I’m a firm believer that if someone doesn’t “like reading” he/she just hasn’t found the right book yet. One of my goals as a teacher is to get my students to fall in love with reading.  Old Yeller, the kids from Wayside School, and Winn-Dixie are just a few of the characters that help me accomplish that goal.

5. Math Challenge Problems

In second grade, students are supposed to be able to add problems such as 345 + 459. Once my students understand the basics around that, I love giving them challenge problems. I change my voice to sound like a guy from a boxing match, “ARE YOU READY FOR A CHALLENGE???” And I slowly write 347913074 + 392412798 on the board, sometimes pausing before adding yet another digit!  Their jaws drop as I write the problem on the board, but as soon as I encourage them, “You know how to add. You can do this. Add it up!” they get going — and when they get it right, man does my classroom get LOUD. They want more, they soon will demand more, and I will increase the rigor as high as they will allow.

It’s one of my tricks so when they see a problem like 562 +432, they have this new confidence. And 6+7, no sweat!

 

Yes. Teaching has its awesome moments for sure. And while I do miss some parts about being in the classroom, this mama is exactly where she wants and needs to be. It was just  fun to remember some of my pre-baby daily occurrences.

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Salt, Truth, and Sundays – August 1

Stay Salty

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  – Matthew 5:13

Jesus said as Christians, we are the salt of the earth. But that salt can also lose its flavor and become useless. Yikes, I don’t want to be flavorless salt or a Christian who has no impact. So last week, to maintain my Christian saltyness, I watched sermons on my TV using the Youtube app while I ate my morning smoothie and toast.

I have fallen in love with this church in North Carolina, Elevation Church, and each Monday morning I eagerly check Youtube to see if yesterday’s Sunday sermon has been uploaded yet. The pastor at Elevation Church makes the word so easy for me to understand and apply. He also pushes me to have a kind of faith that requires action.

youtubetv

You can even watch Pastor Steven preach on Netflix! It is called #DeathToSelfie.

My home church is wonderful, but seeking other sermons throughout the week feeds me nutrients, while also allowing for me to have some easy down time watching TV on the couch.

Read the Truth

I am in the middle of a big promise from God. I am in the gap or the waiting room as I have heard it referred to. I have a battle I am fighting, one I cannot win alone. I have tried and failed. At times this particular battle seems impossible to ever win. Do you have an impossible battle, too? Take it to God. He specializes in the impossible. Just like a story of Jehoshaphat. The very short version of this particular story was that Jehoshaphat’s army was up against three different armies. There was no way they could be victorious  with these battles on their own. They needed to call upon God and have faith in his promises. I need to remember to have faith to wait on God’s promises.

“This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them…But you will not even need to fight. Take your position; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20: 15-17 

What I Loved About Sunday

Our baby stroller came in the mail! (Amazon Prime delivers on Sundays.) Our Aunt Jessie spent Friday with me doing a lot of baby talk and baby shop. She wanted to get us a big ticket item for the baby, so she bought us our baby stroller. I decided on a jogger stroller that also has a newborn carseat attachment. This is the first functional baby item we have gotten. I know they won’t let you leave the hospital without one, so it feels great to check something off of Baby Must-Haves List. Sure, the jellyfish is super cute, but won’t help too much when the baby is here.

jellyfish

We decided on blue, but we still do not know if Baby Mowdy is a boy or a girl. Blue works well for either.

stollerbox

Dillon had to help the postal woman take the box out of the truck because it was so heavy. Something about my husband carrying a giant box full of baby gear just made this pregnant mama’s heart soar. We didn’t find time yesterday to put it together, but I can’t wait to start turning our home into a baby ready home.

 

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Swimming, Sewing, and Sardines

Swimming

We don’t have a pool in our backyard. Something about pools being a lot of work… But there is a pool at my childhood house and I have been trying to visit it as often as possible this summer. Bakersfield is a hot, hot city in the summer. The weather stays in the 100s for weeks on end. Family trips to the pool are this pregnant lady’s favorite summer hobby.

swim

Dillon&MattieSwim

Sewing

Sewing is another way I am spending my summer. I have made two quilts as gifts and three baby blankets that may go to Baby Mowdy or be gifted later on. I want to tackle some other easy baby sewing projects this summer.

sewing

AnimalBabyBlanket

About three years ago I thought I wanted to start an Etsy shop selling baby blankets, so I bought a ton of minky fabric when it was on sale. It’s finally getting put to good use!

3 Baby Blankets

Super easy to put these blankets together. I used this youtube tutorial. 

 Sardines

I need to eat more fish. After doing some research, it seems that the right fish can make for a healthier pregnant mama and baby. But I’ve never been a fan of fish. I did really well at eating sardines in the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy, but I have faded away from it recently. And I know I need to up my intake of fish and those healthy, baby brain building omega-3s in this 3rd trimester. I chose to focus on skin-on, bone-in sardines because they are already cooked and ready to go. They really aren’t that bad, but they have such a gag stigma placed around them. Maybe I’ll have to be a little less lazy and just start cooking some salmon.

Or maybe I’ll establish a reward system. Eat some fish, go for a swim. Better yet, I’ll start my no-picky-eaters-allowed parenting skills on myself…

“Fish is what’s for dinner. If you don’t like it, you can wait until breakfast.” 

 

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